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Dr. Rhett W. Jefferies

Technical Director, Office of Naval Research Global

Dr. Rhett W. Jefferies became technical director of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global in February 2020. He previously served as an ONR Global science director in Santiago, Chile, for interdisciplinary science, beginning in July 2018. He leads command technical experts to discover innovative and revolutionary global science and technology, facilitate international research collaborations, and accelerate technology transition to the fleet.

Jefferies has 32 years of leadership and management experience, 27 years involved in research and development. Prior to joining ONR Global, he conducted fundamental and applied research spanning a wide range of technology areas, including renewable energy production, propulsion, multi-phase flows, flow control and marine vehicles as an associate research professor at The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory. He was a member of the Penn State Mechanical Engineering Graduate Faculty and served as principal investigator (PI), co-PI and test engineer for projects funded by government and industry, often employing advanced instrumentation and optical diagnostic techniques.

From November 2009 to July 2013, he implemented and managed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Program to accelerate technology development in partnership with industry, to reduce fuel burn, emissions and commercial aircraft noise. Prior to the FAA, Jefferies served over 20 years in a variety of technical and staff positions with the U.S. Air Force. These included three assignments as program manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory, developing technology to improve aircraft, engine and missile performance, and managing basic fluid mechanics research in the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He was also assistant professor and deputy director of the Aeronautics Laboratory in the Aeronautics Department of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Jefferies is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Updated: April 2021